How coaches can build a positive team culture

As a coach, your role within a team is not only to be a mentor, trainer, and guide, but it’s also to create a positive team environment and culture. A team’s culture is what defines the team’s identity. And in order to identify what your team culture is, you need to know what you and your athletes stand for. It goes beyond what they believe it takes to win. It’s more about their beliefs, attitudes, and values about competition.

To start creating a positive team culture, here’s what you need to do.

Reach out to your team

We’re talking about ‘team’ culture here, and that means it shouldn’t be defined just by you as a coach, it should be defined by the whole team. So to determine what your team culture is all about, you’ll need to have a discussion with your team about what they believe are the characteristics that will lead them to success.

After your discussion with the team, you’ll be able to figure out the types of characteristics that are important to them.

Here are a few other characteristics you can think about when building a positive team culture.


In any team environment, athletes are bound to make mistakes and fail. And that’s okay. Teach them that although mishaps may happen, it’s more important to take ownership of them and learn from it. If you want to teach accountability, you’ve got to preach it. You as a coach, need to be prepared to admit to your team when you’ve made a mistake, or error in judgment. It’s not always easy, but your athletes will respect you more for it.

Discipline & Work Ethic

Athletes should understand the value of why rules are enforced, and why expectations are set. Not only is it for their safety, but also their growth and development. Having respect for the rules combined with positive work ethics ensures that the team behaves morally and properly. It helps them understand that their misbehaviors or lack of respect will have consequences. You’ll also want to teach them that being disciplined and working hard has its rewards.


To build a positive team culture, you need to encourage teamwork. Value the roles each member of the team plays. While there may be star players that seem to stand out more than the rest, it’s still important to appreciate all other members of the team. Help them recognise that their individual efforts are about serving the team as a whole. Supporting each athlete will boost their confidence, and ultimately improve their performance too.

Want more tips on how to improve your coaching skills? Check out our blog on 5 ways to boost your coaching.

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